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Full text of "Alexander von Humboldt"

WILLIAM VO3ST BXFMBOLBT.                    375
December sun/J From all we can gather, it is evident
that Talleyrand, Mettemich, and Humboldt were the
most prominent characters at the congress, and that
Prussia found in him an extraordinary representative.
And yet it may be doubted whether Hoimboldt found
at this congress a sphere consonant with his wishes,
on which his own being could have shown itselú The
time was not made for it, A conservative age com-
menced in good and in evil, and the appropriate
measures could rarely he carried. If we consider the
opposition he met with in all saggestions for a fenda^
mental reform, we must be surprised at what he
nevertheless, been able to achieve for Gemmsay.
Humboldt was not only one of the mast eminent,
but, fortunately, one of the most industrious membera
of the congress. He was a member of nearly all tine
committees. What Humboldt worked during tibue
congress, and how carefully, thoroughly, and pru-
dently, with what conscientiousness and perseveramce>
is almost incredible ; he expected the same from Ms
assistants and subordinates, among whom the moist
prominent was the Count de Hemming, the nephew
of Hardenberg.
During the most laborious days of the congress,
Humboldt was yet fresh and willing for scientific
labours and for social intercourse ; he corrected his
able translation of Greek choruses, practised the Pes-
talozzian system on himself made a few German
verses every day,, wrote many ikmily letters, and "be-
sides all this, he kept a diary, in which he reported
not only the great events of public life, but also 1&e
incidents of society, the anecdotes and adventores of
the day. Unforteaately, as he himself says, he aftear-
wards had the idea to burn the majority of his papem,
and these among the number.
The congress commenced with difficulties aaacL
delays, and the conferences of the eight powexs were
deferred to the 1st November, and eoxrtixiEted until
the return of Napoleon from Elba. 'Hie "boundaries
of the different States of Germany, thek privileges.,